Clemson quarterback Taisun Phommachanh on his brother Tyler at UConn: “Love to watch him play”

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In two weeks, Tyler Phommachanh has won the hearts of UConn fans and teammates while producing at a level that makes observers forget he’s just a freshman.

As the losses continue, the Huskies are finally at a point where there is cause for optimism.

They found a quarterback – from their own backyard, no less – to rally around, capable of making plays and injecting life into a listless attack.

This is no surprise to his older brother Taisun, a sophomore quarterback at Clemson.

“It’s just who he is. He’s always had that kind of natural leadership in his home since we were kids, ”Taisun said. “He’s not trying to be someone he’s not. He’s just going to go out there and be himself, be that spark, be that live energy teammate that he is.

At least for now, Tyler’s rapid emergence has changed the conversation around the underdog agenda. Stratford’s 5-foot-11 double threat has shown promise against the military and Wyoming, and has undoubtedly taken over.

He’ll be back under center on Saturday (7:30 p.m.) in Nashville when the Huskies visit Vanderbilt, chasing their second win in 32 games against FBS opponents.

If you’re shocked at how quickly it has asserted itself, well, you shouldn’t be.

“That’s what he does,” Taisun said. “He’s elusive, he’s fast, he’s strong. He can play games with his feet.

Tyler doesn’t want to compare himself to his brother, or his father, Sam, who was a star quarterback at Harding High School in Bridgeport in the late 1980s, but he credits them for some of his success.

Taisun, who started before Tyler during his senior year at Avon Old Farms, said they always talk about the X’s and O’s and do diagrams whether they’re back in Connecticut together or separately.

“We’re definitely on the phone,” Tyler said. “We talk about a lot of things he sees, things that I see. It gives me good information about the things I need to learn and develop.

Taisun, a former four-star rookie, has played sparingly since arriving at Clemson, mostly in garbage time, or in the case of this season, some packages behind starter DJ Uiagalelei. He completed 7 of 10 passes for 75 yards with one touchdown and one interception this season for the 25th-ranked Tigers after coming back just four months after a torn Achilles tendon.

Yet some experience is better than nothing. Now that his brother is following the same path, he gives him advice.

“He just told me to be calm, to be yourself, to stay positive, to keep guys standing,” Tyler said. “Keep calm and do what you’re doing.

“These guys fly, they take out hashes, they hit a lot harder, everything. He just told me to be smart, take what the defense gives you, and everyone is moving at the same speed so be careful.

Tyler finished 11 of 26 passes for 109 yards and ran for 60 yards and two touchdowns on his first start, with both scores coming against the Army’s second string defense.

He was more productive in the air the following week against Wyoming, throwing for 171 yards and a touchdown on 19 of 39 attempts as the Huskies, underdogs of 30.5 points, narrowly missed a major upheaval.

When asked if he was more comfortable in his role, Tyler suggested that the game had slowed down for him.

“The last game, I was like (to quarterback coach Mike Moyseenko), ‘It’s the coldest I’ve ever felt in a game.’ It was so weird, ”Tyler said. “I have never been so cold. I just felt comfortable.

Taisun said, “He’s just going to have fun. I love to watch him play.

Taisun might even play against him later this season. UConn is in Clemson on November 13.

“It’s one for the ages,” Taisun said with a laugh. “It’s not too often that you play your brother in college. Just being on the same ground as him is truly a blessing.

[email protected]; @DougHello


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